What is a BIA?
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is a not-for-profit organization that works towards the shared interests of commercial property owners and tenants within a specified geographical area. Established by Municipal bylaw, BIA’s are entirely self-funded. Each year, during the Annual General Meeting the organization’s Board of Directors presents a proposed budget to the membership for consideration and approval. Once approved, the budget amount is portioned and allocated to all BIA members in the form of a levy which is collected by the municipality.
A BIA’s primary goals are to promote economic development in their district, carry out physical and beautification improvements and advocate on behalf of the members. BIA’s also engage in and implement special events, such as, festivals, farmer’s markets, etc. and work to identify community partnerships and other programming.
What are the Benefits of a BIA?
A successful BIA will benefit local retailers, property owners and residents within the community. A BIA works in partnership with individual businesses to initiate community improvements and activities that may lead to an increase in property values and enhance the economic environment within the local area.
By working together a BIA and the local business community within it can create a welcoming and inviting atmosphere which attracts visitors and retains local customers to all types of services; including dining, shopping and professional services. However, building an appealing ambiance takes work and it is the responsibility of the individual businesses to become engaged and work at building a strong partnership with the BIA. A truly successful BIA creates a spirit of cooperation that improves the local community not only for all businesses but for property owners and local residents as well.
What about the Locke Street BIA?
The Locke Street BIA began in 2007, with boundary lines established at Chatham Street running down Locke to Homewood. We are a relatively small BIA, currently with approximately 50 businesses; but are very enthusiastic for the betterment and growth of the Locke Street community.
The Locke Street BIA is very community focused and recognizes that we are in a unique section of the city where families and individuals live, work and play! The BIA offers an intriguing mix of shops, services and restaurants which are frequented by both community members and visitors from around the city.